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tv   Combating Crime Violence in El Salvador  CSPAN  July 19, 2018 4:52am-6:22am EDT

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senate confirmation hearings, and the boat. watch live on c-span, watch any time on c-span.org. listen with the free c-span radio app. next combating crime and violence in el salvador. the inter-american dialogue and counterpart international cohosted this panel of latin american scholars. it runs about an hour and a half. good afternoon. welcome to the inter-american dialogue. my name is michael, larry. i'd elect the dialogue. we are delighted to welcome you all and to partner with counterpart international for a
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discussion on criminal violence and transitional justice in el salvador. in recent weeks, this country has been consumed by images of undocumented immigrants being separated from their children under the administrations policy of prosecuting and attaining those who cross the border illegally. most of these immigrates -- immigrants help from el salvador, and honduras. this has provoked a root discussion -- discussion of the root causes. today we will take a deep dive into one of those countries, el salvador. el salvador has made important strides in a quarter-century since the 12th year -- 12 year civil war. but as a stable democracy with regular elections, and notably electorate governments of the right and the left, including the current presidents, a former guerrilla leader. despite the transition to peace and democracy, el salvador remains an extremely violent place.
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it is one of the highest homicide rates in the world. central america's highest number of gang members. and 42 percent of small businesses suffer extortion. governments have tried to attack the crime and violence problem. to little avail. el salvador is overcrowded prisons often operate as incubators of crime rather than really be -- rehabilitation centers. the police, struggling to contain the crime academic -- epidemic cause destruction. impunity for violent crime and human rights allegations is high. despite some notable exceptions, such as conviction of four police officers for aggravated homicide. alongside these contemporary challenges, el salvador continues to rug -- wrestle with the legacy of its past. in 2016, the supreme court of the country struck down the
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1993 amnesty law enacted at the conclusion of the devastating civil war. clear the way for prosecutors to reopen cases, and for victims to seek justice. some of our efforts distract attention and resources from present day challenges. others argue for -- that impunity is to blame for the weak rule of law that has emerged. today we are fortunate to benefit from three expert perspectives on the challenges facing el salvador, and the broader questions of how past and present efforts to strengthen the rule of law relate to one another. to my left, good friends. a country representative for counterpart international where she leads a project on strengthening human rights. she joined counterpart in 2017 after a decade in washington working for various
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humanitarian organizations. most recently at the national security council and has also joined the all -- obama and administered. she is in a salvadoran attorney who joined the due process of law organization and january 2012. she leads investigations, advocacy and monitoring analysis, on issues relating to memory and non-recurrence of conflict. in addition, in february 20 teen, leonor arteaga was appointed by the government for the national commission for the search for disappeared persons. chuck call is an associate professor of international peace and conflict resolution at american university. he focuses on postwar keeps
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building, stapling and democratization, human rights and police and justice reform. he has conducted field research in central america, colombia, haiti, and afghanistan. from 2012 to 2014 he served as a senior advisor in the state department's bureau of conflict and stabilization operations. he helped to keep me in line. and talk lives in a settlement produced by persons in el salvador for 15 months . he has published on el salvador's assent -- transition from war to peace, and on the creation of its police force. we are delighted again to welcome lady leonor and chuck. i'm sure this will be a terrific conversation with three leading experts. we are going to jump right into the conversation. we will do that for about 45 minutes and will take questions from what i'm sure is a very
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well-informed audience. so with that, maybe leonor arteaga is our el salvador representative. i will start with you. you are obviously from el salvador, but now based in washington. thank you for organizing this interesting conversation when thinking about the process of migration from central america, what comes to mind, we are looking at the potential and
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humanitarian crisis. so the united states needs to adopt a humanitarian approach for responses for those who are fleeing for their lives and taking protection in this country. el salvador in people, is probably most of you know, take all kinds of risks to come here. when i think of el salvador, it's well known, that country is is experiencing crime compared to wartime violence, it's causing international displacement. this is a different process, in
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the middle-class neighborhood and in most rural community game impose their own. children and young men are often pressured to join the game and young women often experience different sexual assault. this -- extortion is widespread. and in general, or people are the most heavily hit by this kind of violence. domestic violence is hard for many women and children.
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evidence in different research, it shows it's one of the most dangerous places in the world for a woman or to be a woman, the female homicide rate is among the highest in the world. and another part of the violence and why people are coming to this country, some of these institutions decide. they are either weak, inefficient, corrupt, or miss funded. many victims of violence often find no protection from local authorities so leaving seems to be the only solution and of course, there's no proper response to this violent authority but it is difficult and it requires comprehensive
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and long-term strategies. i am not implying that there should not be any rules or migration of rules but we need to have in mind, children, families, those who are arriving at this border are human beings facing life- threatening situations and at home and during their journey. they should be treated with dignity. there's a significant role that the u.s. has played in el salvador over decades. they at the very least have a moral obligation to shelter those who are in danger. >> great, thank you. she paints a bleak picture. we've been in el salvador for over a year, what is your
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impression of what you have seen, why is the state struggling to come to terms with the crime and violence epidemic that has been described? >> first of all, thank you again for this invitation and for sharing the panel. we have worked previously in a number of years ago and she is a expert and its honor -- it's a honor to work with her closely. it is a complex issue. i think, one key thing that comes to mind is impunity and it's been such a challenge to tackle. the epidemic of violence, you've got about 93 % crimes that go unpunished. that really sends a message that anything could happen because no one will be punished
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so that is definitely a issue that the country is trying to grapple with. you have crimes that were committed prewar, from the time of the war and crimes committed currently and the issues are still the same. there is this light of hope i would like to think, due to the court ruling of the supreme court finding the amnesty nonconstitutional and a lot of these cases would be looked into , there is now a effort with the attorney general's office. he established a crime unit that will look at these situations and a part of the project we do and the assistance we provide, really helping the judges who are looking into the case. there is a long way to go. but looking at this, it's a
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important case. if we could set the precedent it doesn't matter when the crime was committed, in the 80s or now, it won't be allowed, i think that would send a strong message. that is certainly a factor, i would say. also i would think, being highly polarized politically, it seems like every 2-3 years in el salvador, it's never the right time but, when will be the right time? to address security, each administration looks at this from a different perspective. there's a lot of positive aspects. in terms of the international community and how we are always trying to align our efforts in order to target key priority areas or municipalities where the crime could be high, there is a
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positive aspect but then there are other measures put in place that might not be as helpful in order to solve the crimes. so everything has to be factored in. there is no magic wand whether it's migration or crime but definitely impunity, it's one of the most disconcerting aspects of moving beyond that.>> great. chuck, to stay on the long course side of things. you've had a long relationship with el salvador you've been during -- there during the war and after the war, you are a policymaker and scholar and one of the issues you looked at was the dnc. what is your assessment of how the dnc has evolved and how much of this has -- this crime and violence problem could be delayed by the police? >> thank you for being here,
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it's an honor to be here with the panel. it is hard. el salvador is one of these countries which has gone, they've seen a transition from political crime or political violence to criminal violence and social violence. and so, there is still political violence but is much reduced in the scale and in the social criminal violence it's much higher, at least with political violence but not as much in guatemala i think but it is important. i think the story of the transition and the role that this place in the transition as most people probably know, this was a crucial element. it was the way to get them to agree to a peace accord without putting themselves into the armed forces with 20 % of the
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nucleus exported. 60 present be people who had not been in combat. it was a real success story in terms of integrating former enemies, working alongside each other.>> there were also difficulties there, right?>> the most in terms of the crime wave, there was a dramatic reduction of the number of people leaving the country in the months after the peace agreement, already in 1993 you had homicide rates going high and by 1994, you had ironically, two of the most successful piece offices in the world, south africa and el salvador having the highest homicides in the world. which is when they took the power and influence they had. so part of this story was the gap in this transition between
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the old security forces mobilized in the new forces created which is a deceptive stage then there was the police forces that got high marks, in my dissertation, in the mid- 1990s but experiencing the increasing problems of correction -- corruption and political rivalries. it became worse in the late 1990s and early 2000's. it was a optimism take on that reform effort and it became relatively mixed i would say. most people still consider it to be the most professional police force in the northern triangle but still there are a lot of problems. i do not necessarily think that the pnc is part of the problem but it's a system of impunity that exist. one of the words i think that unites the migration challenge with the impunity challenges fear. there's a lot of people fleeing out of fear. not everyone. there are economic migrants, certainly. i know many of them for both legal and illegal.
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but i think we can't discount the factor of fear and the fear is what underlines the fear of judges to make the decisions that could put people in jail or prosecutors to do their job when they want to do their job, many of them or the fear of police doing the arrest that needs to happen. with got gangs going after families of the el salvador in police force. this is a issue confronting the police. it's part of the picture, but so are the prosecutor's office and the courts and the witnesses fearful of coming forward largely because of the gang violence in particular, i would say. >> the community has come up a couple of times. do you agree that that fear is at the heart of this? how do we get rid of the impunity problem in el salvador? >> definitely fear is at the
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heart of many people in el salvador. as well as for the public servants. this is part of their legacy, the unsolved truth, reparations and justice as part of the issue. here a lot of people think that they would have some kind of that they would have to pay really high if they do their job the way they have to. there's this strong sense that going against the law is a better way to be protected, right? and to keep their job. it's the opposite of what it should be. many-many judges or even prosecutors they don't want to apply the law.
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and so, in general, it's made a contribution, a significant contribution to begin, re- discussing impunity issues and the legacy of this process. so it's been two years and now, we are seeing that the national courts, it's beginning to be the new against -- the new effort against impunity. and for justice and el salvador, more of the most sensitive cases, bishop romero, the
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killing of the six and the two women who were working for them. and of course there was a well- known case of 1000 people that were killed by armed forces in 1881. of these four cases the only one making its way through the judicial system is more focused, if i remember, they are on trial right now. the attorney general's office is also very, they are in in a new way, trying to find their own role in this investigation. so far, the attorney general's office has created a special
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unit to investigate which is remarkable. it's a recommendation that they need to specialize with it capacity. it is a complex crime. so far it's really a small team but is comprised of very successful prosecutors and it's very important in a collective sense. and for the first time in el salvador, since the end of the war has been ongoing, there's this dialogue with prosecutors and civil society regarding these past issues. beyond all of this, in terms of criminal activity the amnesty law has offered the opportunity
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to open new spaces for debating the official narrative or speaking in public about the experiences of the victims. so, this is i would say, very challenging. it is a polarized country. and so, we don't have to miss the chance for dealing with the past and the use of that experience in order to prevent a repetition of this tragedy. >> to add, i think it is a pivotal moment in the history of el salvador in the way of dealing with previous crimes as the attorney general has said previously, it is a pending
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death that they are experiencing. it's been a remarkable process, it's only been two years since the court ruling to be able to see human rights defenders for so long, 25 years, continuing to push forward and owned these different efforts with these different cases and to be able to come together and articulate one not policy but guidance area , training, looking at these cases now, this is impressive. 3 months ago, the ngos got together and provided guidelines to the attorney general because they've got a lot of information that the attorney general doesn't have. witnesses, locations, a huge amount of information, it's a
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small team and they are overwhelmed, there's 150 cases they are looking at currently. there are only five prosecutors, that a lot. but be on the project, i think that there's this duration, we want this to be sustainable so we are reaching out to other embassies who have a interest in transitional justice in this case and we are partnering up. there's a lot of lessons to be learned. even in columbia where they could come or even guatemala, that's a greater example, there area could strengthen the work they are doing on transitional justice. >> so this is great, you're jumping in the direction i had planned for this conversation was to kind of illustrate the current challenges of what we are seeing with the legacy from
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the past so let me ask you about something which is, you mentioned the evolution from political violence to social or criminal violence. i think that is commonly what we understand as the nature of the challenge in el salvador and especially with these gangs, generated violence that we see today. there has been kind of a discouraging trend i would say towards sponsored violence in the form of credible accusations of executions by the police or in some cases, cases that have gone to trial and then there are cases or convictions of police officers, the you -- the judicial executions, there's the pattern or a policy, at least a pattern of the excessive use of force and executions. what is your perspective is
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>> i think there are a reason why you had these in the last year. the last one was in february amongst the judicial killing. it was reported. it's nothing new. it is something that we have seen. in terms of our view on working with state institutions and also with ncos looking at this issue for a while, it's to
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ensure the recommendation for that with a valid, for lack of on our had the opportunity to work they did not and i you forward god, go, 14 military officials were indicted for and officials were in if that
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-- one of them touches on the excessive use of force. it's been reported by the human rights report of the state department, 2014, it's 20 months later, we are dressing -- addressing these standards. >> the accountability, the impunity, institutions, fees are things -- these are things common across the post conference environment in which you've worked studied peace building. is there anything different about el salvador or lessons
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they should draw from others or are there things that they've confronted that should be or are relevant for places like columbia just emerging from a unhealthy situation or implementing a peaceful force. >> there are certain things were el salvador is on the far end of the scale, it's the high extent to which violent crime and homicide and extortion in particular, reflect the gang activity and the gang activity especially by gangs not necessarily linked to international drug trafficking organizations compared to honduras or guatemala where you see a link with international drug trafficking organizations, there is a link in el salvador but it's been dismantled or uncovered in some cases but the
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importance of the ms-13, the gangs are out there on that scale. it makes it a little different compared to the other postwar cases. having said that, that is really difficult. one of the things you might see in el salvador, governments, part of what we are seeing in the election coming up, both, the effort, we've got originally the two-party system since the peace agreement. the two-party system, it's, both of those parties have shown their inability to address the economic challenges and security challenges as well as gang violence and after two terms, i think there is now more a acceptance of that. they've tried different things. they tried even a truce. it certainly brought down homicide rates dramatically which is how we know gang violence is responsible for the
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homicide in the country. when the government came to power, they really tried, we are going to shut down these prisons and make sure they can't communicate from the prisons or those who are in the gangs who inhabit the prisons and will get serious about this which was solicited into war which had the consequences that we were talking about. now there is a backing off of that but there's nothing that's clearly and unambiguously worked. with had a lot of prevention activity and lots of other things and ideas coming from this. but really, it is hard to get a grip on if this can be successful so i do want to say that but having said that, some things in terms of, one of the things that, many of us have worn, we recognize, with the
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peace process, ex-combatants who are mobilized and become demobilized, they've got guns and how to make money from guns, they are organized, if they don't have jobs, it's easy for them to turn to illicit activity. especially if they get involved in those illicit activities for decades which is the case. the possibility that we are seeing, many of us talked about in 2014-2015, common crime and organized crime having new faces or new forms of organization. ex-military and ex-guerrillas, they were getting together and organizing, this was a serious challenge that international actors and civil society actors and political actors must anticipate and respond to.
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especially in terms of a presence of the state in rural and remote areas where it is a crucial challenge just like in columbia.>> to continue with the theme of looking past and present you were in a article recently. it was a interesting argument in their, accountability for past crimes, benefiting the current battle against impunity in el salvador, could you explain what you meant by that, the layout for the connection that you've seen in past accountability or the battle for temporary impunity?>> in general compared to the experience, dealing today with past atrocities, it could provide the society and this is
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date -- and the state, transferable capacity. they could narrow this from you know, 13 or 14 people doing the work and someway apply this to disappearances or, is the same with complex high, -- with complex crimes. the second one, it restores credibility into the institution. so when society sees that the institutions are given a effective response, they will try to be better. then there is also the value of life and dignity.
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of all kinds, right? it sends a strong public message that no one is above the. our president won't -- i precedents won't go unpunished. responsible for killing 1000 people in the case, they will be held. and it breaks the cycle of impunity and corruption. and in some cases, the same actors, they live out the same patterns and behaviors from the past. and these things are repeating again or in the present. we have seen in the case of guatemala, the military officers had been charged with
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torture and crimes against humanity and even though with the greatest responsibility for the strategy during the war, more importantly, several of those who had been charged, they played key roles in the transformation that is today. people that were responsible for the demilitarized strategy during the war were part of organized crime and the state of corruption. so all of them as we know, they were close to the president. this case in el salvador, but not yet, right. that is not the case because that's not what happened. i could say that there needs to be more research, as well as
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more criminal investigation to uncover these links that may or may not exist. but beyond people who in general, what we see or know now, there are similarities in the ways that these crimes are getting committed. so a criminal group now, they are imitating the same similar message, this is a link between the past and present. it's affecting the victims of these crimes in general. the third link, they were heavy
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with hundreds of responses and instead of improving their investigation. right so, in el salvador, since they were struck down, there had been strong enforcements, pushing for not just looking at the past or trying to focus on the present violence but i think, there is enough evidence around the world that you can't forget what happened that these things come in cycles so it is important that now el salvador looks to the past to benefit the current fight against
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this.>> so i think the argument for pursuing these cases and i think you mentioned, it's a turning point or galvanizing moment for the human rights community and the country. leonardo mentioned the counteroffer which you might hear, the political stability, clearly there are at least a number of people on the right and left threatened by picking up some of these skeletons. what is your perception of the impact that reopening these cases could have and why i assume you might believe that it is important to press forward but what would be a response to the argument to its to risky politically? >> well, i think, when is the right time? if not now when is the right time?
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in terms of the human rights defenders, giving them the space to work with the government institutions on addressing this, it is a huge and significant step. >> are they up to the challenge and how do you confront not just the technical challenges of building these complex cases or things that happened decades ago or if your memories are foggy but there's this technical challenge in terms of building cases and a political context and with these -- in which these cases are happening and how do you reckon the two as they happen at the same time?>> yes, the past and present. well, i think there are different instances, the project with government efforts, the time is now to make the investment. victims of someone who lost
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their son to excessive use of force, so for the victims perspective, the pain and agony is there, how the government response to these cases, my take, it is the time to do this. the government, the eight months that they had left and to the extent we worked with them, it's shown an interest to address the issue which goes a long way. sometimes it's really hard to find a alternative dialogue. it's the one approach so what else could be done? so to do that the project has been about working extensively to build dialogue with one of the populations, specifically the women and youth affected by
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gang violence. that's more than 51 % of the population, women and youth when you talk about gender- based violence. through these dialogue sessions, had you get to a point where policymakers are listening about what's happening? there's very little taking place where human rights defenders can come in, the population at large, we have to get into the dialogue and over the last eight months, we've been able to have these dialogue sessions, they said we are tired of being sick and tired. not everyone is a gang member. we've been able to work with police and build a dialogue for the police to listen to the youth and as a result they are now creating a commission, a
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workforce throughout the country that takes into account the use imprint and to inform policymakers and the time that's left with this administration to take advantage in securing protective links. it all about creating the basis for other messages and approaches to happen rather than just the one that you constantly hear.>> so there is a active scholarly debate about the link between presidential justice with commissions and so on and whether this is positively correlated with most. one harvard professor did a lot of research on it and found that there was a link between transitional justice mechanisms, ideally a combination of them and post transition, other scholars as
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well have done efforts disputing these findings around at least but it's not quite as clear. i'm interested in your perspective as a a academic on the state of that debate and your perspective on el salvador in particular in the ways in which you see with the country's current challenges, the roots in the conflict in the way that the transition has been handled.>> so as someone who lived in el salvador during the war and saw people that i loved be tortured and killed, when i was there in the community i lived in, there was some ability that i wanted to see very much for those who lived in the country. i think that there is, there is
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less evidence then most of us would like to see between the transitional justice and tools and the effect on justice system performance in general as opposed to human rights performance. so i think, it is hard, in terms of classification out there, it's not that conclusive of findings between the transitional justice and performance in terms of, faith and justice systems general -- generally speaking as far as faith reforms. there is a logic with a number of things here, the demonstration of the effect, you see people who've been put behind bars and then you got more faith in the justice system but a lot of these reforms are institutional reforms or other kind of reforms taking places -- taking place in places like honduras or
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in other areas, i've been doing a lot of research on this over the last year and it's based on that kind of demonstration effect. if you show that these high- level cases could work you've got more people with faith in the justice system. there willing to do their job and judges are more willing to actually hand down appropriate sentences. i think it's going to be, in terms of in el salvador, the fear mongering about instability being fostered by this is way overgrown, this is a country that's been talking about political differences very well compared to most postwar countries. they been working with former enemies well, not just at a political level in the assembly listed but within the police force or other state
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institutions. there's a lot of people who are getting older now and there are younger generations and in the tuitions including the military would like to see changes. so i think that argument is there. the argument that's more difficult is that is this actually going to do something about the gang violence problem and the high level of extortion creating insecurity in the country which i think that is more of the question. >> the justice system is going through a transition. the attorney general coming in, the justices, they've done a lot of work on these election policies for chief prosecutors and high court judges, they've got this new generation in the judicial system, how do you proceed on both the crimes of the past as well as the kimes
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of the present -- crimes of the president? how do you balance this in a world of limited resources or competing priority? could you give some insight into how these atrocities are working with this? what do you expect from those who will be in charge of making these decisions? >> yes, this is a critical year for judicial system -- for the judicial system and for the defendants in particular. the new attorney general will have to be selected at the end of the year. there's the ongoing selection process for five new members of the supreme court, four of them will be appointed through the constitutional congress. well first, the new members of
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the supreme court and the new attorney general, they should continue their progress, the progress that was made in terms against fighting against corruption and criminal justice. the progress needs to be considered. the second thing, in general, the transitional justice process, or the criminal process we are seeing, the most symptomatic cases involving police, and the big corruption cases against the ex-
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president, they aren't cases -- they are cases that need really strong leadership. specializing in the robust knowledge of national and international standard. these are the kind of people that el salvador needs. they need to be strong in their knowledge and morals and of course in their leadership. it's all about the baby steps in terms of working against the corruption and the fight against it -- impunity etc. i feel like in this context regarding the other two branches, i give little support. or even, trying to not to let
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the military make any progress, right? that is the kind of collaboration we would like to see. and so, in that context, it's really not expected to change dramatically. even if they win again or there is a continuance with the precedent. we don't expect so much to change but this context, it needs a very strong and independent judiciary and attorney general on it in order to take it seriously. so i think that is the key. how could we get there? i would like to point out the answer to that, it's not like one mess or one formula to get
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this done but there are important measures that need to be taken. living in a civil society. they need to be aware and participate in the steps of this process with a positive approach. i think business has been growing in el salvador. five years ago, or even 10 years ago, the process was almost a secret. sometime someone new there was a attorney general but most people didn't know about it and certainly civil society wasn't engaged so that's one thing that needs to happen. secondly, this process needs to be very transparent and it needs to comply with international standards.
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and with the international human organization, they set up a international panel of experts in order to publish and report on the current election process of the new members of the supreme court, setting up several recommendations and then processing the evaluation of the various candidates for the supreme court. i think that is -- in the third thing, the international community or lake in the united states, or the government's, they need to support this effort to have the transparent process and they also need to support the new selected
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authorities and their needs to be a support to that promotes their own autonomy, independence, one that makes them, they need to have leadership within the country.>> perfect. so, this conversation obviously, here in washington at least happens in the context of what we are seeing on the border. it is sort of the immigration issue it's often the prism from which we look through in order to see it. you served at the white house in previous administrations particularly in 2014, there was a similar panic in washington
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about at that time, it was about unaccompanied children coming over the border and to respond to the crisis at the border and think about what the root cause is and why so many people were fleeing. you spent time on the ground trying to implant the strategy that you put in place, how is that going? what more could the united states be doing? what would make the strategy more effective in your view? what should we think of when we once again have this conversation about the root causes or the crime in el salvador? >> that's a good question. it's interesting to work in washington, addressing policy and seeking to implement it on the ground. i felt very honored to be able to see this from both sides because this gives you a different perspective. you get the numbers and you work with different agencies here, the different numbers
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that they are reporting and you also get to see the whole different dimension. one of those positive things that was initially proposed in the central america strategy was the conventionality set forth both by congress, it's something that we should continue to do, it is not a blank check any longer. no, there needs to be something delivered and they need to show results which i think makes a better government. the salvatori and government is listening to that as well, looking at the sense of strategy we've implemented up till now, there has been progress, it is not always linked to migration but many of them are in fact. the cycle of impunity or weak governance you got to address the root of migration that's
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what many in the u.s. government are trying to do, it's not a short-term solution, it has to happen now which is what we are doing. so i would highly reinforce and support the conventionality. i spoke with the vice president and it was excellent. we need to do more of that, to engage, have a dialogue with the president and high-level officials in the region and also here, having periodic meetings, having a dialogue in order to reach a solution, that is key. i think that those would be two things to continue the engagement and continue the conditionality. >> to broaden the question to you, chuck. what have you seen work in terms of your engagement? and post-conflict countries and what lessons might be applied
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from elsewhere like us policy or el salvador? >> you know, i've done research on justice reforms since the 1990s. and when i worked at the state department, i reengaged, i was struck by how the u.s. government is doing the same things on the institution justice building side but the main difference is that there's been a huge boost in the programming into prevention but on this sort of, what our police assistance programs and our judicial assistance programs, they are focused on institutions. and i was just at a meeting, i think i know one person said, one person from the state department, they said, we basically do institutions.
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we had done a lot of supply side for 25 years of trying to produce the technical capabilities for the judicial and police courses. el salvador is one of the first places we did forensics labs in the 1980s, in the middle of the war in 1986. where it was first created and the justice department, in order to get the human rights processes that was emblematic but it did not work. and we are still talking about, i don't know if you know this as was mentioned, the need for investigative capabilities instead of hard lined administrative policing which is what started around the world in the justice department in some way. so that is a long-winded way of saying, the supply-side technical stuff does not work very well, that is the bottom line, i think. one of the things we need to look at, we need to demand justice in these countries. you could use the u.s.
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government to engage more, to engage with those who are trying to push their authority or for outcomes and account ability in trying to implement systems, the same for judges and prosecutors and then there's these international hybrid missions, they provide technical assistance, certainly , but they also provide a political cover for performance minded individuals in the prosecutor's office to do their jobs and prosecute people and know that they could be less fearful and do their jobs if they want to do their jobs. report we put out last week,
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where i was on 21 june, it evaluated the first two years of the honduran oas mission. saying that you know, they made some good progress for the first couple of years but encountered a lot of problems. and their future was in doubt, still. i think those kinds of mechanisms could also be helpful. el salvador entered briefly, such a mission but then rejected it fast. i do not know if that's necessary in el salvador and some people might think it's useful. but you know, el salvador is a place where these two principal political parties have somewhat of a national tradition -- nationalist perdition -- tradition for some reason. going back to the main message it's looking at how to generate and foster those looking for the demand for justice.>>
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perfect, okay, this has been a great discussion. with got 20 minutes left, let's talk about these questions over here. we will take 3 at a time then we will go back to the panel. with got a couple of questions there and one in the front here. please introduce yourself and if your questions are directed at particular panelist mention their name please.>> hello sarah hall from the american resource center. going to a lot of events like this, talking about corruption and impunity and especially focusing on the northern triangle and the root causes of migration, i recently heard a violence prevention work that the ambassador of el salvador was discussing at an event last week and i wondered how this connected to, they are doing this in schools and i'm wondering how this connects to the dialogue with the police and how this will also help decriminalizing youth. i know that this is also a big issue.
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>> i think there is one i think, yeah. >> hello. >> hello we helped implement some of the youth state projects in guatemala. i have many questions but i will pick one, we've been talking about institutions that need institutional support and technical building. the population as well that needs to come from the bottom up in terms of encouraging attention to the justice sector and putting people in court but i'm curious about the private sector and what role it could play in all of this. interestingly enough, el salvador and columbia have a lot of relations with each other in terms of exchanging ideas as to how they have prosecuted but their processes are still different. there's a lot of people who
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want to voice their concerns but in columbia they were internally displaced but still had a voice. but in this case they don't. how can the private sector get into this calculation -- equation? >> let's go to one more. >> good afternoon and thank you. i'm very concerned about what's happening in el salvador after all of these years. i was a combatant in the war and i'm sad to see all of the sacrifice during the war, it's yet to bring solutions to having a better country. i got a question about the, the different changes in authorities that are about to take place, you mentioned the presidents. there are little things. we know that the justice, it's not up for reelection. we know that the use would be
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new people but we do not know yet about the attorney general or whether he will put himself up for reelection. i would like to get a comment from you about that and as mentioned in the two-party system, you seem to have left out that this is a interesting and new situation el salvador -- in el salvador, i would like to see if you could address how the dynamic will work, chasing these securities. the country and abuse towards impunity if the third part a candidate from the same change, like it's a very, as is very popular now. >> sure. i will take a crack at the private sector question in particular. the part about human rights in general in el salvador.
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it sometimes has a bad connotation in regards to the u.s. many here you work on human rights you must be from the left or if you are working for human rights, you're defending gangs, it's varying in perspectives, we are having more contact with the private sector, as well as how they travel with these security issues, working in communities where we need to track the labor force but how do you do that when you need to encourage diversity and solutions. so we have a process with each of the private sectors to see how we could change the paradigm, it really takes a lot of work in order to work with someone that obviously wants to
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be inclusive but internally they say they face their own challenges in one case in particular, the company is very inclusive, they actually reach out, not that they reach out but they reach out to people all over. we worked with one person who was a transsexual but on the other side of the office they had someone who murdered their son but it's okay for them to work with someone who murdered their son but aren't in favor of working with a transsexual person, it's all about coming together, the efforts to work with the community. it is not just the private sector. even when they try to do their jobs, culturally, they face challenges within the business, so it is finding the correct
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balance, it is learning more, it's not just to come in with the solutions but thinking of what would work best for the private sector. yes, there are challenges but it's part of the equation, making a difference, in every day, and the life of these people, working in the private sector, not the private sector, or the government institutions. how do you bring them in? this is a mixed case. there is no solution right away but definitely, having the dialogue has helped to understand the problem more. >> just to comment, on this previous issue, in el salvador, i think in the private sector, it's important on these different levels and in different ways. there are many ongoing
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initiatives at the community level base. and those who are being supported in el salvador, there are several supported. at this community level, the private sector plays a key role in engaging and in trying to be part of the solution regarding the crime issues. particularly, even the opportunity for ex-cons or things like that. it is important not to forget the private sector is, it's part of the equation. i think it's more challenging to think the private sector -- think of the private sector at the national level. at the national level the private sector is a political
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effort. it's always a link to one of the main political parties. so, there are conversations and dialogues with the private sector for different issues, for example, with the tax reform as well as others.
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